Smart colt Ocean Knight (Ocean Park x The Iffraaj Dame) will have another chance to repay Lindsay Park for its patience in Wednesday’s Listed Anzac Day Stakes (1400m) at Flemington.
Ocean Knight was a $115,000 yearling buy from Trelawney Stud’s 2017 New Zealand Bloodstock Draft that has always shown trainers David and Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig plenty of promise in between bouts of growing pains.
“He just needed time,” Ben Hayes said.
“He kept going a bit shinny and we kept putting him out and bringing him in.”
The wait was worth it for connections after Ocean Knight steamrolled his opposition on debut at Caulfield, coming from the back to score at the good odds of $8.50.
It is unlikely Ocean Knight will be anywhere near those odds on Wednesday but a strong showing will augur well for a good spring thee-year-old season for the son of Ocean Park.
Merchant Navy won last year’s edition of the Anzac Day Stakes before returning to win the Gr.1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) in the spring while Long John won the race in 2013 before winning the Caulfield Guineas later that year.
The training trio could have similar hopes for Ocean Knight in the spring.
“He was super impressive and really going well. We think he’s a good horse,” Hayes said.
“He’s a good back-end two-year-old and will be a really nice three-year-old.”
However, the younger Hayes all but ruled out a trip to Brisbane for the Gr.2 JJ Atkins (1600m) in June.
“I think, most likely, we’d back off him (after Wednesday),” Hayes said.
“We’ve never really targeted Brisbane in the past so we’ll give him a break and train him up for the spring.
“We find it hard, if we go to Brisbane, to get them up for the spring.”
Regan Bayliss will ride Ocean Knight in the Anzac Day Stakes (1400m). The colt has drawn perfectly in barrier two. -racenet.com.au